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    facts, INC

    The INC welcomes a new team from Paris Diderot!

    We are pleased to announce that Valerie Metzger’s team from Paris Diderot is joining the INC!

    Here is a description of their lab:

    The UMR 7216 Epigenetics and Cell Fate (Epigénétique et Destin Cellulaire) was created in January 2009 by the Université Paris Diderot and the CNRS. The motivation to create the UMR Epigénétique et Destin Cellulaire was to provide a unique opportunity for the Université Paris Diderot to become a major player in the ‘epigenetic landscape’ in France.

    The UMR Epigenetics and Cell Fate has established itself as an emerging research centre for the study of epigenetic mechanisms that contribute to cell differentiation and cell fate destinies.

    The establishment and maintenance of epigenetic profiles are essential for cell lineage determination and differentiation, during which progenitors, despite the identical genetic information they contain, acquire gene expression patterns specific to their fate. In eukaryotes, a large repertoire of molecules is devoted to the establishment of the epigenetic landscape, and includes sequence-specific DNA-binding factors, the basal transcriptional machinery, non-coding RNAs (such as microRNAs, miRs), chromatin-remodelling factors and enzymes responsible for the covalent modification of DNA (methylation) and histones (acetylation, methylation, etc.). These actors coordinate to integrate environmental signals and generate stable gene expression/repression programs that underlie cellular physiology and govern cell identity. How pathological and stress signals interfere with these actors, hijack the epigenetic machinery, and lead to the deposition of inappropriate epigenetic marks that mediate the long-term effects of the stress still needs to be elucidated. Because brain development and integrity is tightly controlled by epigenetic mechanisms, several of our groups have started to work on link with neurodevelopment and neuroscience.

    Valerie Mezger’s team (Interface between Development and Environment) aims to understand the links between environmental stress and brain development and integrity. There is an almost complete black box between the observation that fetal stress is a factor of predisposition to brain disabilities and the resulting emergence of neuropsychiatric disorders. In particular, the molecular mechanisms underlying the short- and long-term effects of fetal stress in the etiology of these disabilities are largely unknown.

    We address this question by studying Heat Shock Factors that represent a unique entry point into a link between stress, epigenetics, and brain development/integrity.

    Using fetal alcohol exposure (FAE) and neuroinflammation as paradigms of prenatal stress in mouse models, we investigate whether HSFs could contribute to the deposition of short- and long-term epigenetic marks that can impact brain integrity and function.